Learning To Laugh In the Face of Disaster

Learning To Laugh In the Face of Disaster

Good morning campbellsworld Visitors! Campbell and I hope this day finds you feeling great! This morning I want to talk to you a bit about why I have the type of attitude I do. I have been labeled as everything from silly, and sarcastic, to stupid, and smart assed! I will claim them all, thanks. Now, I want to tell you why…

I’ll start with a story. Years ago I was attending a bipolar support group. One day I walked into the group room wearing a shirt that read, “I used to care, but now I take a pill for that.” The shirt was bright red, and the letters were huge. Just as I was saying hi to everyone and making my way to a seat, a young man walked up stood in my face, and said angrily, “That’s not funny! You had no business wearing such a shirt here.” I stood for a moment, took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts and then replied, “Young man, how long have you been diagnosed?” He became furious with me, and shouted, “i’ve been diagnosed for four months, and just what the hell does that have to do with anything? You’re a rude bitch!” Well, I took yet another deep breath, and replied, “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but let me just give you a bit of advice. You’d best learn to laugh at yourself, and your situation a bit, else this damned disorder will kill you. I’ll agree that there are times that this disorder is not funny at all, and in fact at times it can be a real damned problem and inconvenience, but I learned a long time ago that if I did not find some humor in it that it would absolutely be my undoing.” Well, he did not take any of that very well, and we spent much of that group’s hour discussing this topic. Sadly I learned that the young man in question killed himself three months later. Why do I believe that it was lack of ability to at times find humor in the situation in which he found himself in that drove him to that decision? Well, because there are times when I do things, and say things that are just horrible, and when they’re over I am left with such guilt that it can at times be debilitating and overwhelming to the point that I simply wish I could drop out of existence forever. Then I take a breath and laugh saying, “Well, if I killed myself, just think how many folks who don’t like me would have cause to be happy?” Then I smile, and I say, “OK this is who and what I am, and while I need to practice more impulse control, self control, and find more healthy ways to vent myself, I am at times simply going to be this way, and if folks simply cannot accept that sometimes although it seems that my reactions, and behaviors are directed at them, it just really aint about them at all, and they just need to take me with a big spoonful of sugar, or just go on their way. Some have chosen to do just that, go on their way, that is. Then there are others, like the wonderful hundred or so folks who sent me birthday wishes last week, and those who reach out to me in times of need who totally accept all of me, love me just like I am and are able to pull back when I get to be too much, and come back when I’m OK again and be right there for me.

In my book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved my life I tell the story of my going to get King Campbell, how that was for me, and what it was like when I returned home. I do not tell it in a straight up serious manner, and I have for the most part had some really awesome reaction. On the other hand there have been a couple of folks who have written me and have expressed rather angrily their displeasure at my humor, and I have acknowledged them in this way…

“Hi, I’d like to thank you for reading my book. I am really glad that even though you have found it troublesome to your need that you did read all the way through. I thank you for your opinion, and I am sorry that it has upset you so, but I am as I am, and you are as you are, and either we will learn to agree to disagree or we shan’t be able to be friends.” Some have gone back, rethought their reactions, and asked themselves why it bothered them so, and we still are in contact with one another. Others have told me to fuck off, and have gone on their way. I used to really be sensitive to the bad reactions, and then one day my good friend, now retired, Senior Specialist of The Seeing Eye John Keane wrote me and sent me a wonderful website, and when I read what was written there, as well as the wonderful words of encouragement he himself wrote to me I began to learn something new, and that was that I did not have to be anyone but who I am, and I did not have to be ashamed of myself, unless I really thought what I was doing was wrong, and that then it was up to me and only me to change whatever those things were that I myself could not live with, and no one else. He told me I should never change myself to make another happy, and that as long as I was at peace with my maker, and myself, I was good.

Did I learn all these things over night? No. Do I always have this belief system firmly in hand? No. Am I getting better and better at it each and every day? Absolutely!

Many of you have heard me say, “If you don’t want people to know how you are, don’t be that way.” Some have written to ask me why I think that. Here’s what I mean by that. Yet again I have another story…

A few years ago I wrote of a conversation my oldest grand daughter and I had, and my daughter was livid that I’d shared it publically. Her reason for being pissed did not ring true with me though. She tried to make it out that she was pissed because I shared a private conversation that my grand daughter and I had publically, but to me it seemed that the reality was that she did not like it that I’d revealed things about her to others. I cannot know for sure, because my daughter and I do not talk, and that is her choice to continue, but as she and I were hashing out that situation the quote of “If you don’t want people to know how you are then don’t be that way.” Was born. Basically folks, sooner or later no matter how hard you try and hide something the truth of it is going to come out. I learned that when I tried to hide my circumstances from Drew Gibbon when he came here to visit. Then when my illness, and situation got to be too much for me, and I started acting out he did not understand what the hell was wrong with me, and he simply chose to walk away. I still to this day don’t understand why he did not ask me about the behavior change, and I never will because he too has chosen to not speak.

What do I think of all these people who refuse to speak? Truthfully I think they’re cowards. I think they’re passive aggressive, and I think they’re not being fair. What can I do about that? Not one damn thing. I would be glad to listen to anything anyone had to say, but they have to say it first. I am sure without doubt that much fault lies with me where the problems between my daughter and I are concerned, but I am not the only one who has blame to take, and the same goes for Mr. Gibbon. Until the two of them decide to break their silent stance, I can do nothing more.

I have been asked if I would work with Mr. Gibbon again, or if I recommend him as a trainer. The answer is a one-hundred percent YES! He is a fantastic trainer, and I could easily work with him professionally again. I had an issue shortly after he and I stopped talking, needed his input on a situation I was having with a mobility instructor, and he did not hesitate to assist. I made sure to make it so he did not have to deal with me directly, but i believe that had he needed to do so to see that mine and Campbell’s team was not compromised that he would have without doubt stepped to the plate and taken care of business.

Do I hold any ill wishes or angry feelings toward my daughter? Well, I wish her no ill will but it does anger me quite a bit that she refuses to allow me to see my grandchildren. I never have done one thing to put those children in harm’s way, and never at any time did our argument have anything to do with them, but since our problems have been in existence she and other family members have had issue as well, and so I no longer feel that I have some sort of alien issue, and in fact now more than ever believe that she has things going on that haven’t one damn thing to do with me directly at all.

I hope one day to resolve both these issues and am open to any suggestions as to how to make that happen. In the meantime I am learning to love myself quite a bit, like being a “silly sarcastic, and sometimes stupid and smart ass”

If you have read all the way to the end I thank you, and welcome your feedback. All I ask is that you be polite, otherwise you might fall victim to my quote of, “If you don’t want people to know how you are, don’t be that way.”

Until next time this is Patty and Campbell saying…
May harmony find you and blessid be.

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